At the beginning of each new year, I ask the Lord for a focus word for my year. I am somewhat of a pilgrim, a traveler, who loves to journey with the Lord and learn from Him through my experiences. This past year began with significant transition as I stepped down from a job and ministry that has defined my life for much of 10 years. As I stared at the blank canvas, an unmapped journey ahead, I longed for a word of the year that would move me forward through the journey and struggle of transition.
My word: Awareness. Awareness, by definition, is the ability to perceive, to feel or to be conscious of something. In my prayer and study, the Lord led me to Isaiah 43:18-19 that says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” With “awareness” at the forefront of my mind throughout the year, I felt God continually calling me to find my identity not in my work, but in Him and His work!
God brings nourishment and provision in such sweet ways...through books, through experiences, through friends and family, and through words. I have always loved to draw words and scripture on my chalkboard at home. When I would draw out specific verses to see day after day on my chalkboard, the words would bring awareness of God’s powerful work in my life. I have learned over the past year, that just as God spoke words and created the world, we also can speak words that have power to strengthen and build up or to shame and tear down. We have a privilege and power to speak “strong words” to each other...words that bring nourishment and provision and help other hearts grow stronger.
I moved from drawing on my own chalkboard to making custom chalkboard signs for friends in May of 2015 and began to see first-hand how “strong words” written out in a pretty way affected the hearts and souls of those who received them. I knew in my heart that the new thing God was springing up in me was a little business called “Perceive It Pretty” in which I could make custom, permanent chalkboard signs that would help people perceive strong and encouraging words in a pretty way!
With my business I have gotten to hear so many stories of people who are in different seasons with the struggles and joys of life who are clinging to words that make their hearts grow stronger. It has been a privilege and joy to pray for my customers as I create their chalkboards. I pray with hope that each person perceives the truth of the encouraging and powerful words written on her chalkboard, and that through those strong words her heart grows stronger!